Access to information sources after the Sept. 11th NY Attack
13 articles on access to information Sources After the Sept. 11th NY Attack
1. OMB Watch Statement on Access to Information Post Sept. 11
2. The Post- September 11 Environment: Access to Government Information
3. The War on Journalism
4. Denial of Access Shushes the Democratic Dialogue
5. States seek to restrict public access in wake of terrorist attacks
6. Tough Times for the Punditocracy
7. The More We Know, The More Secure We Are
8. Fighting Back Against Information Shutdown, at Home and Abroad
9. The 404 Effects of 9/11
10. Chilling Effects of Anti-Terrorism
11. The Post- September 11 Environment: Access to Governmen Information
12. Journalists: Crank Up Your Search Skills
13. Librarians, Others Alarmed by Order to Destroy Data
In an open society we run enormous risks. Any individual or group of individuals can cause great damage. We try to protect against such damage, but the potential remains. One way is to make ourselves as aware as we can of the risks and take steps to ameliorate them. An alternative is to limit the free flow of information, which is how totalitarian societies operate. While security may improve, the spirit of civil society is lost. We cannot let that happen here. Already, valuable information is being pulled from agency web sites. For a list of these actions, click here.
This is an accurate and up-to-date listing of all public information sources that have been censored, closed or are being restricted as a consequence of the anti-terrorist regulations and laws being promulgated by the US.
Closing off information to the public by squeezing the press leaves us in the dark with pundit prattle, poor policies and panic.
Some restrictions are warranted to guard against attack, but as government demands more information of Americans, it's asking Americans to demand less information from government.
This is an edited text of the keynote address Paul McMasters delivered at the annual symposium of the American Society of Access Professionals in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 10.
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, several state Legislatures have considered or passed measures restricting access to government records or facilities.
But Americans don't seem to care much about threats to their right to access government information, wrote Joe Adams in a December 2001 Presstime article.
Talk about burying the news. One of the more noteworthy critiques of how the media have covered the war in Afghanistan appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. Okay, okay, it was on page one, and the Journal's not exactly obscure. But it's probably safe to assume that not a lot of people were paying attention on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, the article is still available online at:
http://interactive.wsj.com/fr/emailthis/ retrieve.cgi?id=SB100914 1535828813720.djm
It's well worth a look.
http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/ news_features/daily/documents/ 02073534.htm
It defies reason that we'd rush to limit information that has no real bearing on national security or military operations.
Up to a point, even the most ardent Freedom of Information advocate can accept that some secrecy is essential. A covert operation can't be conducted in public. No journalist would want to be told that a news story revealing operational details led to the death of American troops. And if experience is any guide, the public will tolerate, even embrace, the military's insistence on secrecy, at least in the short term.
Jane E. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. She was the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press from 1985 to 1999.
from Search Day archives
It's already a worn cliché that the horrific events of September 11th "changed everything," but on the web it's true: scores of web sites have shut down or have removed content in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
What exactly is missing? While it's impossible to know the full scope, a number of watchdog sites are documenting the changes made on the web. Two of the most comprehensive are maintained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and OMB Watch.
U.S. government agencies that once offered open access to "public" information are among the most prominent sites now restricting access to information, according to the two watchdog sites. Agencies removing content range from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Most government sites that have pulled information have displayed bland notices noting the removal of content, along with "apologies for any inconvenience" messages.
Despite censoring its own sites, the U.S. government has apparently not forced any non-governmental sites to shut down. However, the British government has forced the closure of at least two web sites, and a number of Internet Service Providers have also pulled the plug on "inappropriate" sites.
Some sites have engaged in self-censorship, euphemistically claiming that they are "evaluating" whether content once freely available on the web should now be accessible online.
This "9/11 404 effect" creates a significant challenge for searchers. It hits professional researchers and journalists particularly hard. As online journalism commentator Steve Outing notes in the eMedia Tidbits weblog, "Where journalists (and the public) will likely suffer is with information that's created from now forward. Agencies aren't publishing as much information on the Web due to security concerns, so reporters will have to work much harder to gain access (or even learn about it)."
To keep up with content that's gone missing from the web, check out the EFF and OMBWatch pages listed below.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's list of web sites that have been shut down or have removed content in the aftermath of the events of September 11th.
This list, from activist watchdog OMB Watch, provides an inventory of U.S. government information that has been withheld since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Steve Outing on removal of government information from the web
It's not just the web: the Government Printing Office has ordered libraries to destroy public information - specifically, a CD-ROM on reservoirs and dams prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey. The reason for the order: national security.
Deleted "Sensitive" Web Sites Still Available via Google
Heightened security concerns have led a number of organizations to remove "sensitive" information from their web sites, yet much of this information is still available, even to people with relatively modest searching skills. Since this story ran in SearchDay, Google has apparently changed its policy and has proactively worked with some organizations to remove content, according to ABC News.
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